Nearby Mountain Bike Rides
From MP's sister site: MTB
The Buena Vista (locally pronounced, 'Bew-na Vista') area contains a number of different crags ranging from 40 to 500 feet. With the exception of Holy Water, most of the climbs are in the low, semi-arid mountains on the East side of the Arkansas River Valley. The views of the 14,000' Sawatch Range are phenomenal on just about every route in the valley. The valley has typical Colorado mountain weather in the summer. You will experience the typical afternoon thunderstorms that roll off the high peaks and across the valley. You can often look up and down the valley and spot isolated thunderstorms and climb around them. If a storm is moving across the northern valley, head for Rainbow Rock, if you get a southern or central valley storm, head up north to the Bob's Rock area. Don't make this storm dodging a standard practice, but it is often be pouring at Bob's Rock and dry at Rainbow Rock.
There is fairly solid rock throughout the valley, especially at the developed crags. Holy Water sports some fine alpine granite up Cottonwood Pass road west of town. The area contains 8-10 developed cliffs, including Bob's Rock, The tunnels area, Pumpstation, Split Rock, Elephant Rock, Davis Face, Holy Water, Turtle Rock, and Rainbow Rock. With the exception of Davis Face, all of these crags top out at about 50-100 feet. Davis Face, a large, west-facing cliff about 10 miles from town, stands at about 400-500 feet. Also, some great bouldering is found on the west side of Rainbow Rock. Routes range from 5.5 to 5.12. The majority of the routes in the valley are bolted face routes, while some good traditional routes do exist. Although many of the routes in the valley are bolted, one would be wise to carry some traditional gear to supplement. A few topropes are available at Bob's Rock and Rainbow Rock.
Camping abounds to the northeast of town near Turtle Rock and Split Rock and is free. There is also camping in the National Forest west of town in the Collegiate Peaks Wilderness. The guidebook is available at The Trailhead outdoor shop on the north end of town, and contains local beta for many of the climbs in the valley. You can get just about anything you need in Buena Vista, and if not there's a Walmart in Salida, about 20 miles south of Buena Vista. Kay's and Bongo Billy's coffee are great places to grab a bite and relax after a day on the rocks. Another treat is the Mt. Princeton Hot Springs off of Mt. Princeton Rd. a few miles south of town. Showers can be had near the public river put-in immediately east of downtown BV. In the summer, the valley becomes a whitewater mecca. There are many fine outfitters in town if you want to spend some time in the river.
Ice climbing can be found here.
Buena Vista is located in the Arkansas River Valley about 3 hours from Denver and about 2 hours from Colorado Springs.
From Denver: Take US Hwy. 285 for 3 hours west from C-470 past Fairplay to Antero Junction where US Hwy. 285 and US Hwy 24 will join. Continue on what is now US Hwy 285/24 until your reach Johnson Village. Proceed to the T-Stop and turn right onto US Hwy 24. Take US 24 about 2 miles into BV.
From Colorado Springs: Take US Hwy 24 (Cimmarron) west out of downtown. Stay on US 24 until you reach Antero Junction, where US Hwy 285 and US Hwy 24 join. Turn left on what is now US 285/24 and take it over Trout Creek Pass to Johnson Village. Just after Johnson Village turn right and follow 2 miles to Buena Vista.
Eds. There is a newer guidebook Arkansas Valley Climbs by Tom Perkins for $16.95.
www.facebook.com/#!/groups/145879995484168/ and www.buenavistaclimbing.com may be useful.
A PDF guide is also available: PDF Buena Vista Guide
Eds. The Trailhead, 707 Hwy 24 N, Buena Vista, 719.395.8001. www.thetrailheadco.com.
If you are coming from the Leadville side & need coffee, bakery goods, or wireless internet, the Provin' Grounds Coffee Shop (508 Main St.) may have what you need.
Buena Vista Climbers - Yahoo Group.
Browse More Classics in Buena Vista
Mountain Project's determination of some of the classic, most popular, highest rated routes for Buena Vista:
Featured Route For Buena Vista
BETA PHOTO: Rarely formed 2 pitch WI-5 near Agnes Vaille Falls...
BETA PHOTO: Agnes Vaille Falls (WI-3) 1-1-08
V2, right next to the barbwire fence.
The campus problem.
Small bouldering area near BV.
Bouldering north of BV.
Browns Creek Falls - WI2.
Sweet view while bouldering.
BH on FA of Bob's Ramp circa 1999, Kiley's Boulder...
Discovering Kiley's Boulder, on the way to the ref...
Arkansas River bouldering
Big granite boulders.
The view from my dad's deck in BV.
BETA PHOTO: Two Crags in the Land of Crank.
|By Anonymous Coward|
Jul 22, 2002
Hey, to whoever's "developing" these 30 ft sport routes. Thanks asshole!!! Thanks for being so egotistical and short sighted. I just "bouldered" 5 of your so called "sport routes" last week. You're well on your way to grid bolting the amazing highball potential of the entire Arkansas River Valley.
|By Anonymous Coward|
Jul 29, 2002
You don't have to clip the freaking bolts, boulder to your hearts content, but let some others have fun without the risk.:-)
|By Anonymous Coward|
Sep 5, 2002
Well, I didn't see the grid of bolts, but there are a fair amount of bolts where I climbed. However, the routes would be hard if not impossible to protect otherwise. I climbed Bob's Rock and had a good time. There were other climbers there who were all very helpful with routes. Jethro and the gang were across the valley pushing boulders off of a cliff to watch them explode when they hit the ground. Also, there were a fair number of people doing target practice. Keep your head low! But not a bad little area if your in the neighborhood. Jamison.
|By Keith Baker|
Apr 13, 2005
Shameless plug re: an earlier post:
Give The Trailhead another chance. My wife and I bought the store mid-May of '04 and we've worked herd to beef up our climbing category. We added stock and books; re-introduced shoes; opened up communications with local climbers; hired climbers; got out and reconned and climbed local routes ourselves (we moved in from the Springs when we bought the shop).
It takes a long time to turn a ship around. If you haven't been to The Trailhead lately, you haven't been. Give us another shot.
Climb on,Keith Baker
|By Jeff Bevan|
Feb 3, 2006
So many options exist that the above comments don't reflect on what really goes on here. Everything from semi-alpine Yo like granite buttresses to riverside crags that get "GRID" bolted, OMFG. You be the judge and come and have a good time. Even a little ice in the "off season" :).
|By chad beckelhymer|
From: alamosa, co
Apr 15, 2009
Someone needs to tell the trailhead to sell better shoes, and more chalk.
Apr 23, 2009
Quick question for the BV locals.... As you drive towards Trout Creek Pass on US 285 (I think that is the name of the pass, can't remember for sure), there is a road that drops down into a valley on the right. I think the road is called Castle Creek Road or something like that. There are a handful of granite formations, some of which have seens some development. The development is pretty random looking, varying from old looking pins, to new looking anchors, to new looking bolt ladders that abrubtly end....
Does anybody have any info/history on this area? There were a couple cool looking lines.
|By Casey Bernal|
From: Arvada, CO
Apr 23, 2009
Slim - Here is a question I dropped on Buena Vista Climbing's website
Re: Castle Rock Gulch climbing?
Does anyone know of the climbs here?
I have done a couple of them but I am rather confused on what they are and the rules enforced here.
For example, we started up a nice face filled with golf balls, no nearby cracks, and bolting on lead. We ran into several chopped bolt holes. The climb was fantastic, but rather disappointing to see all the holes. I can't find any info on the crags anywhere (like the Trailhead for instance). If anyone knows anything about this area please contact me. There are several routes in the area that are pretty fun, and the place has a lot of potential.
... and the response from "Brushman":
I have been climbing up there since 1987. The castle rock area has had limited and contentious attention in the past 20+ years. Most of the climbs on the South tower above the county road, were put up in the mid 80's, during the Matt Beckelhymer/Jim Page era of 1/4 inch bolts and cold shuts. The others are probably Andy Brown projects from that same time. Many of these disappeared after they loosened or just got too old to trust. In recent years, the RMOC and several front range groups have been using the top rope anchors there, as well as some of the rocks and towers further north on the ridge for their commercial trips. This area, known as the "Wild Granites" used to have a page in the Trailhead guidebook, but it was taken out or lost in the late 80's. As I remember it, the page described several trad climbs and contained a plea for no bolting in the area. For years, this was honored and it became a nice quiet place to go and get away from the crowds until the late 90's. At that time, several commercial ventures began using the area and developed several slabs with routes, anchors, and a guidebook that was kept to their company's stash. Over the next several years, bolts were put in and often chopped just as quickly, while traffic increased. Conflicts of interest between large groups and nesting raptors (notably falcons across the ravine from one of the slabs) continued, until 2004, when I went in with Alan Robinson of Friends of 4 Mile and Mike Sugaski from the Forest Service. It was determined at that time that the birds deserved a break (ala Boulder's Flatirons & Eldo)and the commercial venue that had been developed in the riparian area was questionable, but would be allowed to remain. With a few exceptions, the bolting halted in the nesting area and the climbers have stayed on the Southern and Western areas during nesting season (May-late July). While little has been done to firm up a policy so far, the commercial use continues in some areas, anchors keep coming and going, and the place could really use some of us to champion it's protection and thoughtful development.
|By Dustin Urban|
May 6, 2009
Is the Castle Gulch climbing referred to here on the actual castles which you hit in the for mile or 2 of driving off US 285 or past them in the area E/SE of the double finned castle littered with granite crags and domes? There's some interesting rock back in there. Has that been explored much?
|By Casey Bernal|
From: Arvada, CO
May 7, 2009
The first castles you come to are really rotten. I think they are possibly part of a very old, volcanic fissure. There is also a band of obsidian near them - quite unique and interesting if you are a rock-licking geologist.
The domes and the castle further to the SSE are a very coarse crystalline granite, which is much more solid, and have some great features - golf balls, pimples, horns, and solid dinner plates. The area has been quite explored but not developed - and I get the impression that some want to keep it that way.
I don't think it will ever be a "destination area" but it definitely has some good climbing. Quiet, great views, solitude, adventurous and fun climbing.
|By Doug Ranck|
May 4, 2010
New climbing guide about climbs in the Buena Vista area. Called, Buena Vista Climbs Recommended by the Locals. It is for sale at The Trailhead in Buena Vista for $8.00/$9.00. Don't be shy, give it a try. Climb hard and have fun.
May 20, 2010
Rainbow Rock bouldering area has been closed to the public:( such a shame....
|By Alan Robertson|
From: Denver, CO
Jun 1, 2010
Doug, on Saturday I asked at The Trailhead for a local climbing guide (I didn't have the exact title you mention), but the woman I asked didn't know of any. If you are a local, maybe you can make sure they re-stock the one you mention? I'll look again next time I'm in BV.
|By Doug Ranck|
Jun 3, 2010
Hi Alan, sorry you did not get a climbing guide. It is on a CD so the sales lady might have thought that you wanted a book. They call me when they get low, so I then give them more, 4 at a time since they went so slow for a long while. If you get one here in awhile, it is up to date. I make changes and updates as they happen and burn new stock.
Later and don't forget to climb hard and have fun.
|By Doug Ranck|
Jun 5, 2010
Chris, yes there may be some climbs way up there. I know a few people who have hiked up to look at the rock and they said it wasn't worth the effort, but that may depend on what section of rock you plan to explore. There are a few climbs on the wall to the west of the road where Highway 285/24 goes through the notch. Happy exploring.
|By Logan Myers|
Sep 27, 2010
Hey Dustin, if you haven't been back there yet, there is significant climbing in the East Castle Rock Gulch/Cogan Spring area. I have been working on developing some incredible mountain bike trails in the area, and spoke with several climbers who were spending lots of time in there...I would be happy to show you around.
|By Lee Jenkins|
From: Buena Vista, Colorado
Oct 6, 2012
Whoever is stealing hangers! This is such a low act of climbers that are usually in a fellowship, fighting for our rights to bolt when we need to, and leave the rock alone when we don't. This is our freedom. Please don't steal from your friends.